Book Review: Such A Fun Age By Kiley Reid
It’s been a while since I read a contemporary 4-star book! And not to sound like a book snob or whatever, but I’m very anal about how many stars I give to a book.
It manages to talk about a lot of important things such as racism and the financial implications of adulting without it ever feeling heavy or sad.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this very funny and thoughtful book. I read it in two sittings because it’s just one of those books that make you want to do nothing but read it until you’re done with it.
In the midst of a family crisis one late evening, white blogger Alix Chamberlain calls her African American babysitter, Emira, asking her to take toddler Briar to the local market for distraction. There, the security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, and Alix’s efforts to right the situation turn out to be good intentions selfishly mismanaged. Goodreads
Chatting up a warm, quirky stranger in a cafe and realising that’s how you make friends as an adult. Reminding yourself to be politically correct all the time and overdoing sometimes.
Wanting to understand how your friends seem to have a fancy, high-paying job with all the benefits when you are barely managing your part-time work. Seeing someone who you think you’d get along with really well and then obsessing about them and crossing boundaries without even realising.
5 reasons to read Such A Fun Age
1. You’re struggling with ‘adulting’
Whether you’re a younger millennial or an older Gen Z – basically in your 20s – and are just like wow, this was such a trap, this whole growing up thing, then this book will do you good. I classify this as a New Adult book in parts because one of the protagonists, Emira is 25 and I related to a lot of her struggles.
This one time I read an article that said that millennials can’t grow up because they can’t afford to grow up. And that is probably the truest sentence I’ve read in forever. Supporting yourself, finding a job where you’re not underpaid, renting a good place, taking good care of yourself, etc. etc. despite having gone to a good college and being smart and brilliantly promising is so fucking hard.
2. You want a nuanced look at racism, fetishisation, overcorrecting and more
If you belong to any minority and are so frustrated with other people getting offended on your behalf for things that you go through on a daily basis and expect you to stop your life every time that happens and not let it go, then you will love reading this book.
Of course those people who say and do racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist things are not to be ignored, taken lightly or be friendly with. But you know when you’re just trying to live your life and not make a whole cause out of it, you’d really just like people to not get offended for you and then be further offended when they see that you’re not as offended. And then there are those who’ll like you cause you’re Asian or fat or not as privileged as them and you’re like yeah, ‘you’re not any better, bitch’.
This book does a great job at exploring these themes and constantly makes you question your own behaviour and whether that matches your intentions or not. It also makes you question if you’re actually helping the person you think you’re helping or actually messing things up for them even more.
3. You’d like to read and be entertained by a well-written 3-year-old character
Briar is a 2.5 year old kid when this book begins and she honestly half the laughs I got from this book were because of her. Her smart, quirky, peculiar, sharp and fun mind and behaviour. The relationship between Briar and Emira, her baby-sitter, is also very cute to read.
4. You’ve at some point really wanted to get close to someone and got a bit obsessive about it
I won’t lie – I have. There was this boy back in 10th grade and I just knew he and I would get along so well because I could tell that like me he was “different” than the other kids. And by that I mean he was smart, mature and knew pain. Fine, I was a bit of a tortured soul and yes, emo. It frustrated me that despite how well we could get along, life events never just worked in our favour so that we could actually get to know each other well and be close. I convinced myself that when I grew up, we’d cross paths again and we’d just ‘click’ because how could we not!
This book…yes, it brilliantly captures that. Looking at someone like this from the outside it’s easy to call them psychotic or a weirdo but it’s really just human behaviour. And Such A Fun Age let’s you in on this person’s mind and thought-process.
5. You ever wonder….am I good, am I bad? Are you good, are you bad? What is good, what is bad?
I love reading about grey characters because the older I get the more I realise that that’s closer to reality and how we all are. We are not good or bad people – we are just people who do good and bad things. Sure, exceptions exist but I’m talking about the average person.
The characters in this book are so gray – so you don’t love or hate any even though you really want to. And you really don’t know who to even root for until the very end.
*** Major Spoiler Alert ***
I love the ending of the book because it’s not like either Emira’s boyfriend Kelley or Alix get proved right or one of them “wins”. I love how after Emira realises Alix put up the video, she doesn’t go running to Kelley. I think that really did it for me because it just showed a very mature, real and sometimes sad side of life.
But I also love how despite losing both these people + a job she loved and would finally pay her well, Emira was fine. In the end, no matter what happens to us, we find a way to be okay.